Mobile foot health care in your own home. Drew Ewing BSc (Hons)

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Focus on Tinea Pedis – Athlete’s foot

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Focus on Tinea Pedis – Athlete’s foot

If you have ever had the misfortune to suffer with Tinea Pedis, otherwise known as Athlete’s Foot, you will have cause to remember the sheer discomfort from the intense and painful itching and if you’re of a certain age you’ll remember that the treatment long ago was based on foul smelling ammonia, which caused as much distress as the condition itself!

What is it and how do we get it?

Athlete’s Foot is caused by the same virus that gives you fungal nail infections. It usually appears between the toes for maximum discomfort although it can also appear on the soles of the feet. You will notice that the skin appears red, dry and scaly or white and soggy and may sometimes blister. Whichever appearance Athlete’s Foot bestows on your poor feet it will always be sore and itchy. When you have Athlete’s Foot you must be especially careful with hygiene and handling because it can easily spread to surrounding skin, toenails or even to other parts of the body. In extreme cases the affected areas could become further infected and cellulitis could develop. Take extra care when dressing and bathing to avoid it spreading.

As with so many fungal problems Athlete’s Foot is caught through poor hygiene and foot care. The likelihood of getting it increases if you if you always wear the type of shoes which make your feet very sweaty, don’t keep your feet clean and dry and if you fail to change your socks every day. Athlete’s Foot is contagious so walking around barefoot in communal areas can exacerbate the chances of getting it, as can sharing towels and footwear with an infected person. Certain health conditions like Diabetes can also increase the risk.

Treatments for Athlete’s Foot

The treatments for the condition are based around creams, powders or solutions that are applied directly to the affected area and most generic ones are available off-prescription. They work by stopping the development of the fungus in its tracks and should also provide a measure of itch relief. Your podiatrist can recommend a suitable treatment for you and can offer advice on the best way to use it. Along with good hygiene most over the counter treatments work well in clearing up Athlete’s Foot although it may take several weeks and you may be advised to continue using the treatment for some time after it appears to have gone.

There are several traditional home remedies advocated for Athlete’s Foot including apple cider vinegar, calendula cream, bicarbonate of soda, salt and even tea. However, although some of these may appear to relieve the symptoms and may even improve the softness of the skin, they cannot cure the infection or eradicate the fungus causing it. Once you stop using them the condition will simply reappear. For this reason we would strongly recommend that you use a pharmacy-led treatment for best results.

Reduce the risk

Lessen the risk of getting Athlete’s Foot by following good hygiene rules, make sure feet are thoroughly dry before dressing and change footwear regularly. In addition, avoid sharing towels and clothing with someone who has the fungal infection.